1. How will I know if a building I live or work in on the Kāpiti Coast is being assessed or has been assessed as potentially earthquake-prone?
Information regarding the earthquake-prone status of a building is public information and is available from Council on request.
If you have any questions, please call us on 0800 486 486 or email: EQPBuildings@kapiticoast.govt.nz
2. Does the earthquake-prone building assessment work include residential buildings?
The Building Act 2004 requires us to assess all commercial, industrial and school buildings – and residential buildings that are two or more storeys high and contain three or more household units (such as apartment building or boarding houses).
Buildings that will not be assessed include single storey residential buildings and two (or more) storey residential buildings that contain only one or two household units.
3. How will I know if people wandering outside my building are engineers associated with the assessment of my building?
The assessment of your building will be carried out by technical specialists. It does not require them to enter your building, but it may involve them taking photos of the building’s exterior. The specialists will carry Council identification which will enable them to be easily identified. If you have any questions, please call us on 0800 486 486.
4. What happens if the building I live or work in is formally assessed as earthquake-prone?
Once Council has assessed the building, we will write and notify the building owner of its earthquake status.
If Council formally assesses the building to be earthquake prone under section 122 of the Building Act 2004, we will provide the building owner, building occupier and any persons or organisations that have an interest in the building with a copy of the earthquake prone building notice. We are also required to fix a copy of the notice to the building in a prominent place.
Please note: Because the timeframes requiring owners to undertake structural strengthening or remove the danger are different under Council’s Earthquake Prone, Dangerous and Insanitary Buildings Policy 2006 and the changes incorporated in the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016, to avoid any potential confusion Council will not initially issue formal section 124 notices until the new legislation comes into effect. It is anticipated that this new law will come into effect on 1 July 2017.If there is a significant delay to the implementation of the Amendment Act, Council will review the issuing of section 124 notices.
5. Should I continue to occupy my building if it has been assessed as earthquake-prone?
The Building Act 2004 allows unrestricted use of buildings assessed as potentially earthquake prone (there are some exceptions in the Canterbury area). However, the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (HSE) places responsibility on building owners and business managers to take all practicable steps to eliminate isolate or minimise hazards in the context of current knowledge. Dealing with earthquake-related hazards: Information for employers and owners of workplace buildings - Position Statement | Worksafe
It is important to understand that if a building is not assessed as potentially earthquake-prone, it does not mean it won’t be damaged in an earthquake. It can be expected that after a strong earthquake, buildings that have kept the occupants safe from injury can still need extensive repair before being reoccupied and may even have to be demolished.
Public safety is the first concern in an emergency situation, with buildings and contents of secondary concern. The earthquake-prone provisions of the Building Act 2004 focus on the prevention of personal injury and the protection of other properties.
6. Can I ask my landlord to have the building I live or work in assessed?
If you want to have an Initial Evaluation Procedure (IEP) or Detailed Seismic Assessment (DSA) of the building you live or work in carried out, you can ask your landlord to arrange for this assessment to be carried out. However they are under no obligation to have this done.
7. Can I make remedial changes to the building I live or work in to make it safer?
If the building you live or work in has been assessed as potentially earthquake prone and you want to carry out strengthening work on the building, you will require your landlord’s permission to do so. A building consent may also be required from Council for this work to be completed legally. It is up to you and your landlord to determine who pays for the cost of the remedial work.
Council and the Earthquake Commission provide guidance on simple steps you can take to secure furniture, fittings and your hot water cylinder. Before you make any changes to your building, please check the terms of your tenancy agreement to see if you need your landlord's permission.
8. How can I find out more information about the earthquake-prone building work process?
- There is additional information on Council’s website including our Earthquake Prone Dangerous and Insanitary Buildings policy
- You can call us on 0800 486 486, or email: EQPBuildings@kapiticoast.govt.nz
- You can also sign up to our quarterly E- Newsletter. Just email: EQPBuildings@kapiticoast.govt.nz to sign up.